Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Ya'alon on Tuesday voiced pessimism regarding peace talks with the Palestinians. "There is no chance in the coming years for a peace agreement with the Palestinians," he told Army Radio.

Ya'alon said, "In the eyes of the Palestinians, the occupation started in '48 and not in '67. It is not only Hamas that thinks this way, but also [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas]. They need to be released from this delusion, from not recognizing Israel as the home of the Jewish people, and from from their readiness to agree that an agreement will be the end of all mutual claims, he said in the interview.

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He concluded, "They have no interest in having Israel as a neighboring state."

Ya'alon's comments on Tuesday mirrored comments made by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman last month after the resumption of direct peace talks.

"The best or most realistic goal would be an interim agreement or solution with a long time frame," said Lieberman pessimistically.

He added that he would prefer that the government concentrate on "economic and security" issues in the talks as he was dubious on the ability of negotiators to solve more contentious issues regarding the settlements, Palestinian refugees, and the final status of Jerusalem.

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